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Victory lure Kosta Barbarouses back to Melbourne

Goal.com logo Goal.com 13-06-2017

New Zealand winger Kosta Barbarouses has returned to Melbourne Victory for the next two A-League seasons just over a year since he left the Big V for Wellington Phoenix.

Victory announced the capture of the 27-year-old on Tuesday, with Barbarouses set to return to the club where he won the 2014-15 A-League double and the 2015 FFA Cup.

Kosta Barbarouses leaves Phoenix early

Barbarouses won the Phoenix's Player of the Year award in 2016-17 but negotiated an early release from his two-year deal earlier this month due to unspecified off-field issues.

It was reported that Barbarouses' partner was unhappy living in Wellington.

"We're extremely happy to have secured Kosta's services again," Victory coach Kevin Muscat said in a statement.

"Kosta is a player who really complements the way we like to play and to be able to sign him for the next two years is a big boost so early in the recruiting process.

"There's no doubt in my mind that his best years are still ahead of him, so he'll be an important player as we navigate our way through a busy campaign that also includes AFC Champions League.

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"I'm sure our fans will be thrilled with this news as the build-up to next season continues."

COMMENT: Barbarouses deserves more credit at Victory

Barbarouses added: "This really couldn't have worked out any better for me.

"I've enjoyed some fantastic times at Melbourne Victory in the past and when the opportunity arose to return, I jumped at it."

Barbarouses appears a like-for-like replacement for his former team-mate Fahid Ben Khalfallah, who has left Victory for Brisbane Roar, although the former normally played on the right wing in his previous stint in Melbourne.

That role was taken up by another Kiwi - Marco Rojas - last season, so one of the two All Whites attackers will need to switch to the left in 2017-18.

The return of Barbarouses continues a tendency from Muscat and Victory's football operations manager Paul Trimboli to lure players they have had previous success with back to the club.

Last season Rojas and James Troisi were convinced to wear the Big V again after stints abroad.

While Barbarouses' best football can be blistering at A-League level - he scored in the 2015 grand final and won the Mark Viduka Medal in the 2015 FFA Cup Final - his inconsistency may cause some Victory fans to question Muscat and Trimboli's lack of imagination in the transfer market.

More: Santalab, Barbarouses win club awards

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